This time of year, nearly everyone talks about presents. Chatter about gifts, shopping, hustle and bustle dominates the conversations. This post however is about present as in living in the present – living for today!
Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Don’t let the past steal your present.” ~Terri Guillemets
It’s easy to slip into the past, though, isn’t it? I just attended a Christmas choir concert where I was unable to stay in the present. I constantly thought of singing the same carols in grade school or high school. I thought of all the pageants I took part in at my childhood church, and of course, all of those thoughts brought memories of my dad. I was so fortunate to not only know him as my dad, but also as my pastor! He was there for every event of my life. This is my first Christmas without him and I miss him terribly.
Stepping into the past to remember, reminisce, or soothe yourself with a memory can be a wonderful thing. Comfort comes swiftly with our treasured memories.
But what about memories that are not treasures? We all have memories of past injustices, injuries, and tragedies. What happens to our experience of today when we choose to live in yesterday? That’s when memories can be destructive. We lose out on participating in current activities when we live in the past. The bottom line is that we can’t re-write yesterday. We can go over and over (ad nauseum) past experiences and make up conversations we wish we’d had, or imagine taking action that we wish we had, but in the end, nothing has changed, right? The past is still the past, and dwelling in it steals from the present.
It takes time, but learning how to “deal” with past injustices is well worth the investment. Healing modalities such as prayer, meditation, guided imagery, MTT (Meridian Tapping Technique), and ERT (Emotional Release Technique) can be particularly helpful. Learning to cope with past problems allows you to live your life fully in the present. Here’s another quote on the subject:
“One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.” ~Michael Cibenko
This time of year it’s easy to reminisce on past holiday seasons. Regardless of whether the memories are good or bad, I suggest that when you are with family and friends, do your best to stay in the present. Think only of what is happening, in the now.
Living in the past can “show” in ways you may not recognize, but others will. This thought leads me to this light-hearted quote from the TV show, Boston Common:
“Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night’s potato?”
I wish you the best this holiday season and appreciate each and every one of you. It’s my hope that you live fully today and experience every moment and blessing of this Christmas!